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Weather and Tourism: Thermal Comfort and Zoological Park Visitor Attendance

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dc.contributor.author Perkins, David R.
dc.contributor.author Debbage, Keith G.
dc.date.accessioned 2016-08-25T15:42:05Z
dc.date.available 2016-08-25T15:42:05Z
dc.date.issued 2016-03-14
dc.identifier.citation Perkins, D.R.; Debbage, K.G. Weather and Tourism: Thermal Comfort and Zoological Park Visitor Attendance. Atmosphere 2016, 7, 44. en_US
dc.identifier.uri https://hdl.handle.net/1920/10347
dc.description.abstract Weather events have the potential to greatly impact business operations and profitability, especially in outdoor-oriented economic sectors such as Tourism, Recreation, and Leisure (TRL). Although a substantive body of work focuses on the macroscale impacts of climate change, less is known about how daily weather events influence attendance decisions, particularly relating to the physiological thermal comfort levels of each visitor. To address this imbalance, this paper focuses on ambient thermal environments and visitor behavior at the Phoenix and Atlanta zoos. Daily visitor attendances at each zoo from September 2001 to June 2011, were paired with the Physiologically Equivalent Temperature (PET) to help measure the thermal conditions most likely experienced by zoo visitors. PET was calculated using hourly atmospheric variables of temperature, humidity, wind speed, and cloud cover from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at each zoological park location and then classified based on thermal comfort categories established by the American Society of Heating and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE). The major findings suggested that in both Phoenix and Atlanta, optimal thermal regimes for peak attendance occurred within “slightly warm” and “warm” PET-based thermal categories. Additionally, visitors seemed to be averse to the most commonly occurring thermal extreme since visitors appeared to avoid the zoo on excessively hot days in Phoenix and excessively cold days in Atlanta. Finally, changes in the daily weather impacted visitor attendance as both zoos experienced peak attendance on days with dynamic changes in the thermal regimes and depressed attendances on days with stagnant thermal regimes. Building a better understanding of how weather events impact visitor demand can help improve our assessments of the potential impacts future climate change may have on tourism.
dc.description.sponsorship Funding provided in part by NSF Project #0947982. Publication of this article was funded in part by the George Mason University Libraries Open Access Publishing Fund. en_US
dc.language.iso en_US en_US
dc.publisher Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute en_US
dc.subject Phoenix (Ariz.) en_US
dc.subject Atlanta (Ga.) en_US
dc.subject Weather en_US
dc.subject Visitor attendance en_US
dc.subject Zoos en_US
dc.subject Thermal comfort en_US
dc.subject Thermal aversion en_US
dc.subject Physiologically equivalent temperature (PET) en_US
dc.title Weather and Tourism: Thermal Comfort and Zoological Park Visitor Attendance en_US
dc.type Article en_US
dc.identifier.doi http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/atmos7030044


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